Exploring planning permits with Information Extraction and GeoVisualisation

01/03/2002 - 30/09/2008

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This project page provides links to the online resources referred to in my PhD, 'Monitoring the conformance of planning decisions to urban land use policies using Information Extraction and GeoVisualisation'. Each example is accompanied by a short explanation of what it shows. You will need flash installed. If you have any problems accessing these resources, or have any questions or comments about the work, please email c.combe@napier.ac.uk.

Acknowledgements: The work was funded by an EPSRC studentship and supervised by Prof. Jon Kerridge and Dr. John Old. The datasets used by the work were provided by City of Edinburgh Council and Lothian Valuation Joint Board. Staff time for evaluation purposes was also provided by City of Edinburgh Council.

Summary: This research has produced a tool that can be used to look for spatio-temporal trends in planning permit data. The primary intended users of the tool are planning policy makers, who can use the tool to retrospectively examine how their policies have been implemented. Knowledge of spatio-temporal patterns in the planning permit data may suggest ways in which development plans (which document planning policies) could be updated.

Thesis abstract:

In this thesis two existing computer science techniques are used to solve a specific problem in the field of spatial planning. The problem to be addressed is monitoring the conformance of planning decisions to urban land use policies. 'Monitoring conformance' refers to adherence to development plans and must be distinguished from monitoring performance, which looks at whether or not the plan met its objectives. The two computing techniques applied to the problem are Information Extraction (IE) and GeoVisualisation (GV).

IE is an approach to the automated processing of text. This thesis proves that the restricted subset of language used in the short texts present in planning applications makes them ideally suited to IE methods.

GV is an approach to the interactive analysis of geographical data. Its use was motivated by two factors. Firstly, it is necessary to avoid the assumption of a simple relationship between policy and implementation – many different policies may apply to a particular decision. These may be weighted differently and are open to interpretation. Hence, statistical conclusions, such as ‘there is 80% conformance to policy’, are never drawn. Instead the visualisation leaves the interpretation of the results open to the user. It is through the details-on-demand functionality of visualisation tools that this link to the user’s own background knowledge is made. Secondly, the prototype user interface developed exemplifies the use of GV to explore geo-temporal patterns in the data. This was motivated by the knowledge that policies change over time.

Evaluation work is conducted which shows that policy-makers can see reflections of the conformance of decision making to urban land use policies in the GV tool. The computational techniques used have been brought together and applied to the domain in a novel way, which assists in addressing the problem identified. A number of more theoretical questions are also considered along the way.

Exploring planning permits with Information Extraction and GeoVisualisation is a Research - Other Sources project funded by none. Carried out in collaboration with and others. For further information please refer to .
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Resources link icon

  • Planorama: Example 1 - Hotel Development
    This example (Figures 7.6 and 7.7 in PhD) shows the use of the tool explore the implementation of the following policy from the 1992 Central Edinburgh Local Plan: Policy L7: Hotel developments New hotel development, including the conversion of non-residential buildings to hotel...
  • Planorama: Example 2 - Retail Protection
    This example (Figures 7.8 and 7.9 in PhD) shows the use of the tool explore the implementation of the following policy from the 1992 Central Edinburgh Local Plan: Policy S7: Protection of shopping uses Proposals for the change of use of a shop unit at street level or at basement...
  • Planorama: Example 3 - Conversions from offices to dwellings
    This example (Figures 7.10 and 7.11 in PhD) shows the use of the tool explore some consequences of the following policy from the 1992 Central Edinburgh Local Plan: Policy H3: Housing – conversion of non-residential buildings The change of use of suitable buildings in...
  • Planorama: Example 4 - the effect of the classification scheme used
    This example (Figures 8.1 and 8.2 in PhD) shows the effect of using different classifications of land use.
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Areas of Expertise link icon

  • Information Visualisation
    Information visualisation is the use of enhanced Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to communicate and interact with complex data sets such as social networks, multiattribute tables, and financial data. Pages of text and numbers are not the most effective way to communicate or understand information.
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Project Team

Dr Colin Combe
(not currently an institute member)
Dr L. John Old
(not currently an institute member)
Jon Kerridge
+44 131 455 2777

Associated Publications

Old, L.J. (2009). The Semantic Structure of Roget. In: Priss, U., Angelova, G. (Eds.) Conceptual Structures for Extracting Natural Language Semantics , , () ( ed.). (pp. ). : . .

Combe, C. (2008). Monitoring the conformance of planning decisions to urban land use policies using Information Extraction and GeoVisualisation (PhD). ().

Liu, X., Feng, Y., Kerridge, J. (2008). Automated Responsive Web Services Evolution through Generative Aspect-Oriented Component Adaptation. International Journals of Computer Applications in Technology , , (), .

Liu, X., Feng, Y., Kerridge, J. (2008). Generative Aspect-Oriented Component Adaptation. IET Software, 2, (2), 149-160.

Priss, U., Old, L.J. (2008). Lattice-based Modelling of Thesauri. In: (Ed.) Lattice-Based Modeling Workshop, Sixth International Conference on Concept Lattices and Their Applications (CLA'08), Olomouc, Czech Republic., , () ( ed.). (pp. ). : . .